What trends are shaping the LMR market today?

LMR Market Trends

In a recent discussion with Michael Branning, President and CEO of Avtec, Inc., we asked him about some of the trends and solutions at play related to broadband technology and push-to-talk (PTT) solutions in the land mobile radio (LMR) space.

What trends have you noticed in the LMR market?

From the vantage point of my 30-year history in LMR, a key market trend I see is a movement toward integration openness. When I started, radio systems were analog and mostly controlled by tones or DC current. All the components were proprietary, coming from relatively few vendors. Over time, radio system standards like P25 and digital mobile radio (DMR) have emerged in response to market demands.

Common air interface standards for subscriber interoperability appeared first, then wireline standards appeared for radio system connections to dispatch consoles. Today, you see a number of P25 system vendors that focus mostly on public safety and even more that support DMR tier II and tier III standards.

Another trend revolves around ownership of communications infrastructure and considerations of using more than one. When I started, radio infrastructure was often owned by the end user. In some cases, a regional radio system was built and air-time was offered to subscribers by a specialized mobile radio (SMR) company. End-user owned and regional SMR systems still exist, but national broadband PTT services such as AT&T’s Enhanced Push-to-Talk are compelling options. Customers have more choices when considering a blended solution that includes owning their own LMR infrastructure and augmenting with a third-party network.

I see one more trend, the use of data for automation. It’s a natural evolution. LMR systems have had little or very limited data signaling transport traditionally. Voice was used exclusively for both safety and operational efficiency. Organizations are trying to reduce errors and get more productivity from fewer workers. So they’re adding automation for routine and repeatable tasks, leveraging data-to-monitor location, and improving rule compliance.

Why are businesses looking to supplement their LMR systems with broadband PTT technology?

My view is that remote user communication is becoming increasingly important for both safety and productivity reasons. Organizations have three general classes of users: users that must be equipped with an LMR radio to accomplish their mission and for safety; users that simply don’t need more than the ability to make a phone call; and users that could benefit from rapid collaboration via PTT communications, but for economic or ergonomic reasons they can’t (or won’t) carry a radio. This third group are the candidates ready to be equipped with broadband PTT technology, either carrier-based or in some cases an “over-the -top” application.

How are businesses integrating PTT, smart phones, traditional telephony, and radio technologies in a call center?

If an organization operating a command center needs interaction between broadband PTT users and the LMR users, then dispatch consoles are a good method to support interoperability. Our Scout product can simultaneously integrate virtually all radio and telephone systems on the market, using an IP connection, including AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk. It’s a much better solution than the “donor phones” that were necessary in the past. It’s more reliable, with a small footprint, and doesn’t cause radio frequency (RF) loading.

Learn more about AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk and Avtec Scout.

Avtec is the leading provider of mission-critical console systems in North America, specializing in highly reliable, scalable VoIP dispatch consoles for command centers.

Hamlet Sarokhanian Lead Marketing & Business Development AT&T Advanced Mobility Solutions About Hamlet